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Forces of the Wild
Flowers Images from FORCES OF THE WILD A wave

NATURE probes the powers that shape life on our planet in FORCES OF THE WILD, a five-part miniseries.

Video The staggering violence of a volcanic eruption; the unstoppable fury of a killer typhoon; the dreaded specter of an asteroid destined for a cataclysmic rendezvous with the Earth. We tend to associate these kinds of overwhelming natural forces with death and destruction, but from the birth of our planet through its entire geological evolution, these events have proven indispensable to life.

In the five-part miniseries, FORCES OF THE WILD, NATURE presents an unforgettable view of how the elemental forces of the universe shape our world and the lives of the life forms that inhabit it, including mankind.

The first episode, "In the Beginning," traces the stages of planetary formation, and describes how life first came to exist on Earth. Even with the immense power of natural forces wreaking havoc on planet earth, life prevails.

For millions of years, our planet has acted as a finely tuned instrument of creation and destruction, as extreme natural forces form and shape the world in which we live. In episode two, "Perpetual Motion," discover how the atmosphere and the oceans form patterns of life, from rainforests to deserts, and produce life-destroying storms like hurricanes and tornadoes.

Episode three, "Heavenly Partners," explores how the Earth's most important neighbors, the sun and moon, influence our natural world. Everything from the passing of time, to the changing seasons and tides, to massive animal migrations, and the planting of crops is marked by their cadence.

For billions of years, Earth and those who call the planet home have acted as a single creature, one that is always adjusting and regulating itself to ensure a stable environment conducive to life. In "Living Dangerously," the fourth episode, discover the new force on the planet: humanity. Find out how humans have tried to harness the wild forces of planet Earth.

The natural forces of the planet are part science and part art. To get a better understanding of the interweaving of these two elements in the life of our planet "Playing with Fire," the fifth and final episode, goes behind the scenes with the scientists who have dedicated their work to unraveling this planet's mysteries.

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View the Production Credits.

Recipe for Life
Why did life evolve on Earth?
Volcanic Action
The secrets of erupting volcanoes.
The Equinox
Why aren't our days and nights of equal length?
Understanding El Niño
What is El Niño?
Avoiding Destruction
Meet an earthquake hunter.
Volcanic eruption
Significant events in geological history.
For Teachers
View FORCES OF THE WILD lesson plans.
A bird
Web links and books related to the program.

A migrating bird A flood Nomads in the Sahara desert